Kedzi, (V/R), April 18, GNA - The Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Saturday cut the sod for the construction of 300 out of 315 houses costing 26.5 billion cedis for the resettlement of the Kedzi, Vodza and Adzido communities which were displaced as part of the Keta Sea Defence project.
The houses are expected to be ready within four months. A total of 836 houses of different sizes are to be constructed in phases and financed from the HIPC Fund, he said.
Alhaji Mahama said 100 houses had already been completed at a cost of 8.5 billion cedis under the first phase and were being occupied by the people at Vodza and Adzido.
The Vice-President said under this second phase of the project, electricity and water would be extended from Keta to the resettlement communities at 4.2 billion cedis and 6.4 billion cedis respectively including a sewerage system the first phase of which was estimated to cost 2.1 billion cedis.
Alhaji Mahama explained that the resettlement of the displaced communities though not included in the original 84 million dollar Keta Sea Defence project had to be taken up and funded separately by the government based on recommendations of a taskforce constituted by the Ministry of Works and Housing.
The Vice-President observed that the Keta Sea Defence resettlement project was one of the tangible benefits of the HIPC initiative and "it is therefore unfortunate that some people will try to play politics of deception with the HIPC initiative".
He said the Keta Sea Defence Project fell within the five priority areas of government of which the vigorous pursuit of infrastructure development like the sea defence project and related projects were an essential feature.
Alhaji Mahama assured the people that the government would ensure the most peaceful, free and fair elections this year and implored "contestants to see themselves as competitors and not enemies".
Alhaji Mustapha Idris, Minister for Works and Housing called on the chiefs and people of the beneficiary communities to co-operate with the contractors who would be on site in the next few days.
He urged them to channel grievances regarding the execution of the project through the appropriate channels to his Ministry for appropriate action.
Alhaji Idris said the project was dear to the government and would therefore not allow any obstacle to obstruct its smooth implementation. He said the government had kept faith with the people of the area and looked forward to a reciprocal gesture.
Alhaji Idris thanked the beneficiary communities for co-operating with the government by agreeing to relocate temporarily in makeshift structures with all the inconveniences to allow for the smooth execution of the Sea Defence project.
"You have endured this for so long, the government would also deliver on time", he assured.
In a welcoming address, Togbi Tsagli II, Chief of Kedzi commended the government for ensuring that the Sea Defence project became a reality despite it being initiated by its predecessor.
He was grateful for the resettlement component without which the people would have become refugees elsewhere.
Togbi Tsagli appealed to the government to consider other inhabitants of the communities who were compelled earlier to seek refuge elsewhere before assessments were done to provide houses for those who had remained behind.
He appealed to the government to set aside land for cemeteries and toilets for the beneficiary communities to prevent indiscriminate burial of corpses and defecation around.